Home >> Press Release >> January 23, 2009
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C1XS Catches First Glimpse of X-rays from the Moon

The Imaging X-ray Spectrometer, one of the 11 payloads onboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and UKs Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, has successfully detected the first X-ray signature from the Moon. This is the first step in its mission to reveal the origin and evolution of the Moon by mapping its surface composition. It may be recalled that Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on October 22, 2008 and entered the lunar orbit on November 8, 2008.

In orbit around the Moon, Chandrayaan-1 Imaging X ray Spectrometer (C1XS) detected the X-ray signal from a region near the Apollo landing sites on C1XS Catches First Glimpse of X-rays from the Moon December 12, 2008 at 02:36 UT. The solar flare that caused the X-ray fluorescence was exceedingly weak, approximately 20 times smaller than the minimum C1XS was designed to detect. The X-ray camera collected 3 minutes of data from the Moon just as the flare started and the camera finished its observation. C1XS depends on radiation from the Sun to activate the detection of X rays. Though, the minimum in solar activity was expected to end in early 2008, however solar activity is yet to reach the anticipated increase. With the highly sensitive C1XS instrument, it has been possible to detect the X rays.

The camera - C1XS (pronounced kicks) was designed and built at Space Science and Technology Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is an X-Ray Spectrometer that uses X-rays to map the surface composition of the Moon and will help scientists to understand its origin and evolution, as well as quantifying the mineral resources that exist there.

Chandrayaan-1 is the first lunar mission of ISRO and also the first mission with international partners. It is designed to orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km and carries 11 scientific instruments including radar and particle detectors as well as instruments that will make observations in the visible, near infrared and soft and hard X-rays.

Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO said that the joint development and operationalisation of C1XS in Chandrayaan-1 between ISRO and RAL, UK is a major achievement. First signatures obtained from C1XS are highly encouraging.

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